Laser-engraved carbon nanotube paper for instilling high sensitivity, high stretchability, and high linearity in strain sensors†
There is an increasing demand for strain sensors with high sensitivity and high stretchability for new applications such as robotics or wearable electronics. However, for the available technologies, the sensitivity of the sensors varies widely. These sensors are also highly nonlinear, making reliable measurement challenging. Here we introduce a new family of sensors composed of a laser-engraved carbon nanotube paper embedded in an elastomer. A roll-to-roll pressing of these sensors activates a pre-defined fragmentation process, which results in a well-controlled, fragmented microstructure. Such sensors are reproducible and durable and can attain ultrahigh sensitivity and high stretchability (with a gauge factor of over 4.2 × 104 at 150% strain). Moreover, they can attain high linearity from 0% to 15% and from 22% to 150% strain. They are good candidates for stretchable electronic applications that require high sensitivity and linearity at large strains.